Expansion

A post by JLK over at Pieces of Me (so glad she’s blogging again!) has prompted me to write about our desire (or lack there of) to expand our family at this point in time. There are so many factors to consider. Let’s break it down!

Complications
Between Sept. 2009 and Dec. 2010 we stressed over “trying”, experienced a miscarriage, tried again, had a somewhat difficult pregnancy, Evan was born early, he was in the NICU for his first week, and then had another week-long hospital stay a month later. Add to that Evan being a pretty fussy baby (even though, thank God, he sleeps well at night), that makes up a good percentage of our life span.

If there is a next pregnancy, things might go better, but there’s a better chance things will go worse. Because of my history, we might experience another miscarriage (or more), and there’s a higher chance the baby would come early and therefore may have health issues. Oh, and don’t forget that I’ll be older. Apparently that never helps. Yay biological clock.

Completeness
I know some women who had a baby at the same time as I had Evan are already thinking or talking about having another child. They say they can just feel their family is not complete, that they know another baby is out there waiting to join their family.

DH and I do not feel this way at all. In fact, we feel so happy and complete with our current family that we just can’t fathom what it would be like to add another to the mix.

The Only Child Syndrome
So many people (who aren’t only children) love to say how awful it is to be an only child. “They have no one to play with”, they say. Or, “It’s so nice to have more than one child when you go on vacations so they can keep each other company.”

First of all – I think my brother and I got along for a grand total of 2 months, 1 week, and 3.5 days of our childhood. Yes, we could be forced to get along on vacations. But, the majority of the time we either fought or ignored each other. And we were pretty good with each other compared to others (DH and his sister used to get into serious physical altercations sometimes involving flying pogo sticks).

Second of all – anytime I ask an only child if they felt like they missed out on having a sibling, most say no. We asked a friend of ours the other day about it, and he said he’s starting to realize now that it might have been okay because then he won’t be solely responsible for his parents when they’re old and decrepit. Most of them are interesting, well-adjusted members of society – or at least the ratios of normalcy don’t seem to be any less than those with siblings.

I don’t think wanting Evan to have a buddy on vacations is a good enough reason to have another child. If that’s the only reason, he can bring a friend. At least that way he gets to choose his companion.

Granted, if my parents felt this way, I wouldn’t be writing this right now.

Our Needs & Wants
DH and I have hobbies, and there are things in life we would like to do. Right now we have the time, energy, and money to make sure all three of us have a very good life. If we add another child, sacrifices will have to be made, and you can bet your ass it wouldn’t be Evan’s needs or wants on the chopping block. This is an important consideration that I don’t think too many people think about. Some people call it selfish, but we don’t want to be a martyr to our child(ren). Our happiness counts for something too.

Moving Forward
Even though it’s sad at times to see Evan grow up so quickly, we are fascinated by the changes. It’s amazing to watch him experience and learn new things daily – to go through the stages of life. This might sound really strange (perhaps two Physics PhD’s can be a bit on the analytical side), but we feel like having another child is like moving backwards. All of a sudden you have to go back to “trying”, go back to being pregnant, go back to the newborn stage, etc. etc.. It seems like life would be in a rewind or repeat mode.

Conclusions
Well, I think it’s pretty obvious from the above what we’re thinking right now! But, one thing I’ve learned in my nearly 32 years on this planet (well, as of this Wednesday – YAY for my birthday!) is to never say never. Because I would like to have my childbearing days behind me by 35, we’re going to wait until summer/fall 2012 to revisit things.

How did you decide to not have children, stop after one, or to have more? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Comments on: "Expansion" (10)

  1. All good thoughts!

    We always wanted two, so trying for the second (after a miscarried unexpected second pregnancy), was an easy decision for us. Especially given the high success rate of subsequent pregnancies after only one miscarriage. We were done DONE done done after two until Wes was about a year old and then we both just realized we were missing someone and decided to have one more. I can't really explain it, because it was not a rational part of my brain that made the decision.

    But, that said, our interests and the things we enjoy mesh really well with having a large family, so we're not being martyrs to the children either. I have a friend who was an only child, but went to live in Japan and England with her family. They traveled all over and she had a fascinating upbringing. We could not do that with three kids. At least, not as easily as we could with one. But we enjoy a slower pace and lots of noise in the house, so it makes sense for us to have three, you know?

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  2. I have one who just turned 11, another one who will turn 4 shortly, and am pregnant w No 3. As you can see, the age differences are huge. We had our first when we started grad school (not planned), could barely get by financially. I graduated, got a real job, moved away with 1st kid and hub stayed to try and finish his degree. When hub joined us 2 years after I swear I got pregnant the minute he walked in the door. 🙂 For the third one, the road was a bit more traumatic, and I am still keeping my fingers crossed that it all turns out well.

    Like Becca above, I felt I wasn't done with two. But we ended up spacing them farther apart than I would have ideally wanted, because there was resistance from my hub each time. My hub was always very negative-to-lukewarm about having more, but then rightly admits that if it were his way we probably wouldn't have any and he's grateful I kept insisting. He is a great dad, but it takes him a while to warm up to every additional kid — he greatly prefers them once they start walking and talking. When our oldest was 5 and I started bugging him for No 2, he said no as we're still not living together and why get more perturbation in our lives — we love the one we have. For No 3 it took me more than a year to convince him (I think I just wore him down), he was again not for it (we are finally out of diapers, who's going to finance all those college expenses, etc.)

    I have kids because I enjoy them and I think I can raise them to become good people. You cannot control their affections or relationships with one another, they will get along or they won't. I can tell you that my 11-year old and my nearly 4-year old get along very well, the little guy adores the older one and is always trying to butt in with his friends. It's not the same as having them close in age but they can still be very close.

    Perhaps you don't have to decide to go for No 2. Simply decide not to NOT go for it — in other words, don't officially start trying. “Trying” is psychologically hard on everyone (I think men in particular) — the obligation to have sex in a certain period is a turn-off. Just stop birth control and have some fun with DH, and see what happens.

    Good luck with this important decision!

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  3. Becca – before Evan came along, we fully intended on having two for sure. Maybe we just need to get further away from the pregnancy/newborn phase to start feeling more comfortable with the idea.

    GMP – I've heard that most men tend to do better with older children. So, I could see how it would be tough for them to go through the infant stage all over again. We're not going to decide anything for at least another year or two, so we'll see when/if things change!

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  4. Hi, it's Amy from WTTG, yup still reading your blog! Well, before Jensen Rob wanted 5, and I wanted JUST 2, not open for discussion. Since about 4 months after Jensen was born when I experience a miscarriage (I was on the pill) we realized not only did we want another one, but we want another NOW. We tried for 2 months, one cycle and it failed and it was awful. I hate it. Now we will be trying again in May, and hopefully my cycles will be more cooperative. We really feel we want another soon, we don't feel complete yet. We've also decided to keep the number open, and have as many kids as it feels right for OUR family. I have a friend who tried for her second as soon as her daughter turned one, and she said that even though they don't use protection she doesn't feel the need to go out and get pregnant right away like she did with her first. I also know a friend who wanted a baby SO bad, but waited until her and her high school sweet heart were out of school and married. She got pregnant on her honeymoon and now… no desire for more kids anytime in the near future. She has a post about it if you are interested just go to my blog and click the “Fairy Tales Do Come True” blinkie. I think if you feel complete now then don't worry about what you thought you wanted before, or what your friends are doing. Only YOU can decide what is right for your family. And who knows, maybe it won't feel right summer 2012, but maybe in another 2 years it WILL feel right. Or maybe you're destined to focus all your love and attention on your son. And there is NOTHING wrong with that!

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  5. Amy – glad to see you're still reading 🙂 I totally agree with you about keeping the “number” open for now. Yes, right now we can't really see ourselves having another, but that doesn't mean we can't change our minds in a year or two or more.

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  6. I always wanted three, and Hubby always wanted one. We compromised on two, then thought for a while after Monkey was born that we would *never* want another. All of a sudden, in the last month, we've both started craving a second. Like Becca, there's no rational way to explain it. We're waiting a bit to see where my career settles and figure out money (for daycare), but we're already sure that we *need* another. Who knows, there may even be a third in the picture someday… But I think waiting until you feel like you really want another, much like with Evan, is the way to go. It's funny how quick your mind can change, when/if you're ready. 🙂

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  7. Micro Dr. O – yeah, that feeling hasn't hit us yet. It probably doesn't help that Evan is in this “I'm going to scream my head off instead of nap” phase 😛

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  8. Like you, I dont imagine having more than Bebe right now…however, I also know in my heart that we plan to have at least 2 more, even though secretly I want 4 children. We just cant afford 4, which is why I'll be content with 3. So I really think that its the fact that my baby is still under a year old and that I know I'm NOT ready for #2 until this one is approaching three. I can respect people's decisions to have their children really close together but I just. dont. get. it. It honestly raises my non-existent anxiety levels to peaks when I think of even entertaining a pregnancy right now (or at any time since he's been born) or the possibility of an ooops. If that makes any sense. So when people ask if we are WTT, I say no…because honestly we arent. We dont even talk about #2. There is no planning involved right now for #2, we are just enjoying our baby now and getting ready to wade into the toddler years. We tentantively have next year in mind for TTC #2 after Bebe turns 2 and my 30th birthday but ya know…theres a TON of other things we have to do first and I just dont have a rigid timeline about this process. I do know that I dont want to be *too* far removed from the baby/toddler stage and forget completely what its like to have sleepless nights, a crying babe and nursing 24/7.

    I think that maybe removing yourself further and further from the new baby stage may sway your opinion a bit about having more children so I agree with the others to keep your mind and heart open until baby is older. There is many benefits to having one child so kudos to you if you really do just decide to stick with Evan as your only child.

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  9. Ruby – thanks for sharing your thoughts. We've always wanted two, and always thought the 3(ish) year spacing to be ideal. So, perhaps in a couple years we'll be feeling more up to it. But, if not, that's okay too! We just LOVE our little family now, and really want to enjoy things the way they are for a while (or forever! LOL!).

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  10. I think that there are plenty of children in the world and if you are content with one, then great! But I also think it's sometimes hard to imagine at this stage wanting another baby. You might start wanting another when Evan is 2, 5, 8? Or never . . . it really is about what YOU want–Evan is going to be fine either way!

    For me, my parents are each from a pretty big family (4 and 5 kids), and I have three sisters. I loved having a big family. I have always wanted at least four. I just love the idea of having a bustling household . . .

    And as I grow, my cousins and family are my best friends and love James the most–I want that for him when he's older.

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